Does the Hurt Ever Heal?


One of those scary places to go.  Death, sadness, irrevocable loss, days, weeks, months gone forever.


In 1978 my brother committed suicide.  His body was found almost six months later where it had washed up on a river bank.  As we waited through the months when we knew nothing and then endured the questions and analysis of dental records and other comparative data, we were torn between wanting to know and not wanting to know.


It has been thirty-five years and it still hurts so much.  I can’t write now without crying.


I miss him.

I would’ve loved to see him meet my wife, my kids.  They would’ve laughed at his idiosyncracies, some very similar to mine, some that put mine to shame.  They would’ve been amazed by his talent and insight.  And, if they were lucky enough to hold his hand, they would’ve have known the strength and gentleness that, to this day, is my picture of the hands of Jesus.

For those of you who have suffered great loss (some are so much worse than mine, so much deeper) you know that the hurt never heals, never goes away.  We compartmentalize, we bury, we cope with what has happened but we don’t “get over it.”

And that’s OK.

My Jesus will not remove all pain until I stand before Him in heaven.  When He claimed that He had “overcome the world”, it didn’t mean that the world was gone.  It meant that He was greater, stronger, deeper than what would happen to us here.  His triumph is not over the cross, it is through the cross.

And in that, I find His peace.





What Happens Inside?

The lottery millions soar.  Your friend gets divorced.  A teen commits suicide.  Thousands across the world die of starvation.

There may be no outward response to situations like these.  And often, because of our experience or the relative distance there may be no inward response either.  But make no mistake, something happens.  And to top it all off, you, I get to decide what happens.


The lottery soars.  Do you go buy a ticket?  Wish you could buy a ticket?  Dream about what you would do with the millions?  Allow the seed of bitterness to touch on your finances, God’s provision?  Question the goodness of your Savior?

Your friend gets divorced.  Do you chalk it up to the world, our evil days?  Do you wish you could dump the spouse that you argue with?  Allow guilt to seep in about all you didn’t do?  Put up a wall to keep a fallen brother or sister distant?  You may not know that you’ve even responded in these ways but you do notice your hardened heart, a closure in you spirit.

A teen commits suicide.  Do you fear for your own children?  Do you protect them, control them, hinder them?  Do you question their commitment to God?  Condemn their inability to deal with life, problems, reality?  Do you fear your own inability to cope, to see a way through your present?  Do you blame their parents, their choices, their schools, their peers?  

Thousands die.  Do you develop phobias and compensate for them?  Do you allow yourself to be desensitized to their needs?  Cocoon your heart and mind from the pain of SEEING their suffering?  Trash the cries for help, the pleas for money?  Do you settle?  “I’ve done as much as I can.”

I’m asking myself these questions.  Not to condemn myself, though that may not be entirely inappropriate.  But I wonder, is what happens inside of me the same thing that happens inside my King?  Do I respond to those around me the way my Savior would?  It will cost me.  It will hurt.

But what happens inside of me if I won’t let them in?

A Primal Scream

I see teen suicide, unwanted, unmarried pregnancies, abuse, loss, addiction, homosexuality up close and with all their realities.  I see marriages die all too often in the ravages of pornography, busyness, neglect, fear.  I see the cries of the children, the broken hearts of the parents, the families and lives that will never, ever be whole again.  And from inside me comes a scream, visceral, angry, hated and hating, yet born out of love.


“Please stop hurting each other.  Please stop hurting yourselves.  Please just listen and love.  Come to me and I can heal you.  Come to me and let me ease your pain.  Let me assure you of my love, my blessing, the promises I have for you.”  Then I realize that the scream I hear, that is inside me, is the voice of my Lord, my Savior.  And, he is not just speaking to others, He is speaking to me.  He speaks against the lies of false freedom.  He cries out against the paths that promise fun and excitement but end in death, in destruction.  He calls out with hope and life, peace and goodness.

Will I listen?  Can we hear Him through all the noise that surrounds us?  We’ve got to.  I’ve got to.

To order “Daybreak” by Matthew Hawkins please click on this link: